Book Review – WATER WILL FIND ITS WAY by Bronagh Slevin

Water Will Find Its Way Synopsis: 

Water Will Find Its Way by Bronagh Slevin

A bewitching tango dancer in an Argentinian brothel. An orphan seamstress lured away from the Armenian ghetto by a charming French soldier. And a mother who is struggling to overcome a legacy of shame that began the night she fled from the genocide… Seville, 1950: Many years after reunion with her daughter, Nairi breaks the silence about the past. Sevan recounts her odyssey from the orphanage to Spain, and she finally discovers her sister Catarina, the tango temptress, whose attempts to escape from slavery in Buenos Aires’ decadent underworld still reverberate in Nairi’s life now.

Like the Spanish river that winds through the story, Slevin deftly weaves a swirling, multi-layered narrative that begs you to understand how changing fortunes can make people do things they find unsavoury. Heartrending and uplifting by turns, the journey takes us from the Armenian genocide to glamorous 1930s Beirut and Buenos Aires.

Water Will Find its Way explores family bonds and identity within a family displaced by war. It tells of the importance of passing down heritage, with music as the redemptive link to the three women’s quest to discover their origins. (Amazon)


The modest cover art of Bronagh Slevin’s novel Water Will Find Its Way belies the dramatic and gritty story within. A story of survival in the face of heartbreaking adversity, it is at once a thrilling page-turner and a haunting meditation on love and loss.

All of the characters featured within Water Will Find Its Way are beautifully drawn – not a stereotype in sight. The stoicism of the female characters is balanced well by their individual passions.

‘I’ll just pull these blinds down a bit so the sun isn’t in your face, Mama’ she says. I detect a slight tremor under her matter-of-fact tone. She lowers the metal blinds and gradually the shade extends towards my grandmother who smiles in appreciation. A look passes between them: pain, a plea for understanding in the shadows of memory on my grandmother’s face; encouragement to continue mingled with surprise in the emotion registered on my mother’s. In both, the underlying charge of love.

Slevin skilfully depicts the varied and exotic settings within this novel – the distinctly different sights and sounds of each come alive for the reader, almost jumping off the page. The cultural sensitivities present in each locale are conveyed with great maturity also. The extensive research carried out by Slevin over the many years it took her to write this novel shines through – enhancing the story without enveloping it.

I enjoyed the complex narrative tapestry (reflections, letters, journal entries) that Slevin employed. If there was a weakness it was that in a couple of instances within the present day dialogue it took me a moment to be sure which of the central women was speaking.


I was swept away by Bronagh Slevin’s Water Will Find Its Way. This novel is immensely compelling reading – from overwhelming sadness a stirring sense of hope is borne.

Slevin is currently writing her second novel, this one set in Sicily. I look forward to its publication.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5

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BOOK DETAILS:  Water Will Find Its Way by Bronagh Slevin ( Amazon )

Genre: Historical, Drama, Romance, Adventure, Mystery

* This review counts towards my participation in the Global Reading Challenge 2014 (Europe).

Author Information: Bronagh Slevin was born in Ireland. She is the author of Water Will Find its Way, a novel, and the singer/songwriter on Bloom, an album she recorded with trip hop producers while studying law and languages at university in Bristol. She holds a Masters in Anglo-Irish Literature from University College, Dublin. She has worked as a teacher and a translator. She has also lived in Spain, Italy and Brazil. At the moment she lives in Sicily with her family. She is working on her next novel which is set in Sicily.

– Check out Bronagh Slevin’s website and an article in which she describes the writing process behind this novel.

Other reviews of Water Will Find Its WayA Bookish Affair; The Bookish Teacher

* My receiving this title free from the author did not affect my ability to express my honest opinions in this book review.